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Sillerman Interview

August 15, 2008 | People
Robert F.X. Sillerman, the president and chief executive officer of the company that owns Elvis Presley Enterprises, commented via a 20-minute recording to questions submitted to the official Elvis Presley web site. His response, recorded last week at the New York headquarters of his company, CKX Inc., was played at the Elvis Insiders Conference at The Cannon Center for the Performing Arts Downtown. Little Susie Q, who attended the Elvis Insiders Conference, added a transcript to her ElvisWeek 2008 blog:

What are your plans for Las Vegas? -

It will be a big, interactive (you will be able to “talk” to Elvis), maybe they can get the street names “Elvis Presley Blvd West”. Elvis deserves a bigger presence in Vegas for what he did there.

What are your plans for Graceland –

The impact of economy may affect how fast what we do. Won’t be spending all of the money up front. But major pieces will be completed soon (“soon” being a relative term). Our current economic situation is pretty dire.

Sneak peak of plans?

Tied up with what happens with Memphis and TN We need approval. Once we know what we can do, plans will come out. Perhaps in 6 months.

Sillerman: I’m an Elvis fan – put your earplugs in and I’ll do my rendition of an Elvis song. I’m a big Elvis fans. Elvis and I have a long history.

Why did you want to buy EPE? Society has changed so much over the last 10 years, principally driven by the devices we have – ipods, dvds, internet, etc. we can now deal with iconistic people. Since it’s impossible for anyone else to ever attain the heights that Elvis did, it was our desire to be associated with this kind of talent, a talent that needs no definition, explanation. I can’t say when the idea precisely came to me, but after we sold our last entertainment company, we were looking for something.

What’s your earliest memory of Elvis -

I was studying classical piano (quite good, if I must say so myself), I had no awareness of rock
and roll or of Elvis. I had my little portable radio and there was no Yankee game on. So I heard an Elvis Presley song and was taken aback. I got out of bed to have my brother listen to it. He didn’t like it but I told him he was crazy. I was captivated then – by “Hound Dog”. I know it sounds funny, but it was almost a life-changing moment.

What did you think of the Celine Dion/American Idol duet with Elvis?

Every time I see that I get goosebumps. It’s the technology I was talking about. The idea emanated from CKX. Everyone I show it to says Elvis more than holds his own with Celine’s powerful voice.

Did you see Elvis in person?

Do you own the DVDs? I saw Elvis live 5 times – in college and after college. Once in Boston, 4 times in Vegas. When I watch the concert footage I am evoking the live experiences.

Elvis Radio – what’s your favorite era and song?

No one single favorite song. It changes all the time. I listen to 13 all the time. 50s era is my favorite. In the Ghetto, Lieber and Stoller songs.

Is there going to be an EP Theme Park?

No roller coasters and ferris wheels and things like that. There will be Elvis-themed features where you can come in with themes of Elvis’ life. Interactive. We can move things out of Graceland to display them elsewhere and restore the house to its original look.

Are you a member of EI.

Yes. (He pulled out his card)
Source:Little Suzie Q
Brian Quinn wrote on August 15, 2008
Bob Sillerman was supposed to answer many questions that were posed by fans. Did he in fact answer these or does the lead story cover all that was discussed?
Harvey Alexander wrote on August 15, 2008
Sounds horrendous to me. A schmuck in a suit toying with Elvis' legacy just because he's got loads of money. I bet his plans for Vegas and Graceland will be tackier than anything even Elvisly Yours have ever come up with. He might fool some with his "Elvis and I have a long history" talk, but not me. Bet he can't name both sides of the five Sun singles.
Paulex wrote on August 15, 2008
Harvey Alexander: is that the criteria of being a "real" Elvis fan, knowing the sides of the SUN records? I bet I can't name them all, but I freakin' named my first son Aaron and I am covered with Elvis tattoos, among other fan type thing.....Give the guy some credit. Off course this could all be staged, but hell, if it's true the man saw THE MAN live 5 times!!! Wish I could exchange that with him and he can keep all the dollars himself....!!!
Harvey Alexander wrote on August 15, 2008
I used the "five Sun singles" thing just as an example. Then again, if you can't name 'em then that's your problem. As long as you have a tattoo...
Jumpin Jehosaphat wrote on August 16, 2008
I think robert should buy and fly 2 Blimps over the Super Bowl one being Elvis and the other being himself.
Steve V wrote on August 16, 2008
Every Elvis fan should be able to name the 5 Sun singles, A & B sides. Should be a prerequisite for being a fan. They started it all. But I guess too many people like Elvis In Concert more.
circleG wrote on August 17, 2008
I don't question Sillermans qulaifications as a 'fan' but I do keep a keen eye on his business ideas. So far an massive Elvis slot machine is incredibly popular at the airport, it's not too tacky as you can watch the king on stage if you don't want to play. I was surprised the pool table was so popular with you guys. The Mcfarlane figures could be worse (though the '68 figure is amazing). I am even tempted to have an Elvis key cut for my front door (don't know why). You can see where CKX is going. The rubber ducks and towels and candles need to stop and yet I never hear of 'Joe public' actually putting Elvis down. But all this will be a laughing stock if the music and films are ignored or treated as not important. They are the only things that give Elvis credibility. Ernst has done a great job. EPE has done ok too but lets iron-out the problems with TTWII and EOT and get those box sets out!